The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 94 (2016) > Issue 12 > Managing Health & Safety Risks (No. 57): Hazards from ground movement
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Managing Health & Safety Risks (No. 57): Hazards from ground movement

Any risk assessment consists of three parts: identifying hazards; assessing the probability of occurrence; and considering the consequences. Historically, some of the worst failures have occurred when the hazard was unforeseen and the consequences severe. Normal foundation design consists of checking the bearing capacity of whatever is provided, but the possibility of losing foundations altogether is to be feared. This can occur through general ground movement.

Recently the UK has commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster (south Wales) in which a whole mining spoil tip moved, engulfing housing and a school. In total, 116 schoolchildren and 28 adults were killed, buried by the soil. The tip was unstable (partly because material had been dumped on flowing water) and the potential for movement had been ignored).

Author(s): The Institution of Structural Engineers' Health and Safety Panel